Lurk on truckers’ online message boards long enough and you’ll likely come across what amounts to a guide to interstate sex, replete with lurid tall tales (see here, here, and here). Being in this truck can actually make you crazy.” As Perlman discovered, however, the women—and, occasionally, men—who cater to this loneliness don’t fare much better.
America’s Independent Truckers’ Association estimates there are nearly 5,000 truck stops across the country, and although many offer nondescript places to sleep, eat, or shower, many others host a bustling shadow economy of sex and drugs.
While his claim might sound hyperbolic—or like a canny bit of marketing—it rings true: He logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to make the film, braving roach motels, crack highs, and homicidal pimps.
Indeed, what Perlman captures in is visceral and harrowing.
I recently spoke with Alexander Perlman about life on the lots, dodging the police, and what he left on the cutting room floor.
Mother Jones: So this film was inspired by a truck stop prostitute you met while hitchhiking from New York to San Francisco? It was midday at a truck stop in Ohio, and I was sitting on a bench outside the travel center. We were in the middle of talking about her grandchildren when a truck driver who looked like Santa Claus walked by.